NHTSA Expands Ford F150 Exploding Airbag Investigation
Jason Lancaster | Jan 25, 2010 | Comments 18
A few months ago we posted an article about the 10 most outrageous truck quality problems of the last decade. In that article, we mentioned that some F150 owners had complained about exploding airbags. According to some 2005-2007 F150 owners, the driver’s airbag went off the minute the key was put into the ignition. While there are definitely some humorous aspects to this concept (talk about a bad way to start the day), it’s a serious issue. So serious, in fact, that NHTSA has expanded their investigation into these complaints.
As part of their decision to expand the investigation into the F150, NHTSA has released documents showing that a little more than 1.5 million F150’s made between 2004 and 2006 could have this problem. According to the Automotive News, Ford’s internal investigations indicate these spontaneous airbag explosions are the result of an electrical short in the steering wheel. More than 300 complaints about this problem have been registered with NHTSA, and fortunately, none of those complaints have been linked to a serious injury (mostly cuts and bruises).
Still, it’s easy to imagine a scenario where the spontaneous explosion on an airbag could cause a serious problem. Even if the exploding airbag itself didn’t cause an injury, the shock of a spontaneous airbag detonation could cause someone driving an F150 to lose control.
In light of Toyota’s recent recall problems, Ford would be wise to get ahead of this thing as quickly as possible. While incidents of unintended acceleration are quite rare (and most of them resulted in no injuries), Toyota’s reputation has likely taken a hit with consumers. The F150 is Ford’s most popular vehicle, and they can ill-afford to have consumers question the truck’s safety.
Based on NHTSA’s decision to expand the investigation, the documents they’ve released, and Ford’s statements, it seems likely that an F150 airbag recall is coming. Hopefully, Ford will manage this issue better than Toyota managed both the floor mat recall and last weeks accelerator mechanism recall.
Filed Under: Auto News
Considering it is 04-06 and it has been redesigned since then (who knows if the air bags or steering wheel are the same), I don’t for see it having such a impact.
F O R D = Fix Or Repair Daily
F O R D = Found On Road Dead
F O R D = First On Race Day (oops, sorry – that is Toyota Tundra)
vic – I said the same thing about a floor mat recall, and yet here we are. If this were to become a larger problem, and if Ford were to manage it as poorly as Toyota has, it would be a black eye.
Hopefully they’ll learn from Toyota’s mistakes.
Jason even of it has been redesigned those models out there still have that issue and you can’t just blow it off Vic. I would say the same with this recall of the accellerator on my truck. Just for safety purpose I will have mine changed but I don’t think it needs it.
Mickey – You raise a great point. NHTSA first cited 2005-2007 F-150s before shifting to 04′ to 06′. If the 07’s are included after the fact, or if Ford fixed the problem in 07’s models but didn’t bother to do a recall, that won’t help them.
Of course I’ve been following this issue closely, since I own one of these. Haven’t seen this occur on any of the peoples 04-07 F150s that I know, or mine, but still an issue. Personally sounds like the short occurs upon start up, when the circuit receives a charge and doesn’t occur while the vehicle is moving.
Now of course changes are made over the design years. So to say Ford changed the wires or design specifically for this purpose, who knows. We’ll have to wait and see until all documents and details are released. Of course with all recalls, it may or may not impact all 04-07 models. Maybe just those built at a certain facility, or those with particular build dates, or who knows could impact them all.
Being I’ve been hit with an airbag before, I know what to expect, even if it were a shocker. My main concern is more for my wife and children, if this were to occur while she had the truck (very rarely does she have the truck). Either way, it’s a shot in the dark and only has to happen once.
Jason, Keep us up to speed on this issue, and I’ll try to provide any insight I receive from my resources. Thanks!
So if you’re driving an older vehicle, wouldn’t you want to know about a recall? 04-06 is not that old….and when a vehicle is a best-seller, just think about the amount that are still on the road. Will be interesting to see if Ford can learn from Toyota’s issues.
Justin – You bet man – thanks for commenting so much lately. You add a lot to this site.
TXTee – Agreed.
Jason: Thanks! Try to get on when I can. Always like to bring a constructive, but not abrasive outsiders non-Tundra and non- Toyota owning viewpoint. But yeah, I do get a little defensive at times, but hey don’t we all?
it took 3 years for ford to recall just blow off the problem where it took toyota 2 months to make their own fix and recall the cars themselves… i wonder whos handling the problems better
Geoffrey: 3 years to issue a recall for what? If it’s regarding this airbag article, lets provide some insite. This issue impacts 04-07 model F150s. There have been 300 complaints, most events occur while starting the vehicle, with no serious injuries being reported and no deaths. It is currently being investigated. Toyota’s SUA started spiking in 2001. This occurs while the driver is driving, whether at 5mph or 75mph. There have been over 2K complaints and roughly 20 deaths attributed to this Toyota SUA. So Toyota realistically waited 9yrs to recall. Ford and the NHTSA started investigating this issue in the last year, not 3 years ago. Now tell me with the true information out on the table, who is handling their problems better?
Justin – I have to agree that Ford has done a much better job of handling recalls in the last decade then they did in the previous one. They also seem to know how to jump on things before they become a problem – Toyota could definitely take some notes from Ford in this area.
Jason: You and I both know well enough, Ford has had plenty of practice on the recall subject in the past. They’ve learned to nip it in the bud ASAP before it gets out of control and turns into a bigger issue.
I was in a small collison, and the airbags blew out. But instead of preventing injuries, they exploded causing burns on me on my 12 year old son. At first we thought it was a cut but we noticed it was’nt bleeding. His skin was burnt. The airbag caused more damage than the collison. If the airbag did’nt deploy, we would’nt have barley any damage.
George – That’s one of the downsides of airbags. I too have been burned by bags even though it really didn’t seem necessary for them to deploy.
However, I’ll take a burn and an airbag that might deploy a little too easily over having no airbag at all. Hopefully, your son’s burns will heal quickly (mine were gone after a few days).
is there any way to get rid of it or to stop it from working????.
This is a bad thing for company’s with the F150 trucks my brother has a toyota tundra 2004 and he love it and he hates fords and I agree.